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BATTLE FOR CHERBOURG. On 22 June '44 three American Infantry Divisions began their assault on Cherbourg, supported by air & naval attacks. A bitter six-day battle ensued, as the Germans were ordered to hold to the last man.
Battle Zone Normandy Series: BATTLE FOR CHERBOURG.
In order to reinforce and expand the D-Day bridgeheads won on 6 June 1944, the Allies needed a port to bring in troops and vital supplies. Cherbourg, at the northern end of the Cotentin peninsula, was therefore the first priority for the American VII Corps, under the command of Major-General J. Lawton 'Lightning Joe' Collins. After establishing a firm beachhead, elements of VIII Corps moved west across the base of the peninsula to isolate the 40,000-strong Cherbourg garrison, dug in behind concrete and field fortifications in dominating hill positions. Collins then sent divisions north to Cherbourg but maintained units facing south as well to prevent any German reinforcement. Cherbourg's capture was highlighted by a violent storm that had raged since 19 June, crippling Allied landing vessels.
On 22 June three American divisions began their assault on Cherbourg, supported by air attacks and naval bombardment. A bitter six-day battle ensued, as the German commander had been ordered to hold to the last man. The surviving German forces surrendered on 29 June, after thoroughly destroying the harbor facilities, rendering the port unusuable for months to come.